Alternatives to Taiwan for expats who love Taiwan (but don't love the pay)

With all the negativity around working in Taiwan around here (“Salaries in Taiwan are garbage and only getting worse”, “Working conditions are awful”, etc.), I was wondering what countries you’d recommend over Taiwan for people who love everything about Taiwan except for the work and pay?

The kinds that I love about Taiwan:

  • Good food
  • Amazing nature stone’s throw from the city
  • Friendly people/Easy to make friends
  • Vibrant expat life (popular meetup groups catering towards many interests, etc.)
  • Low cost of living (unless you want to rent an apartment in the city centre)
  • Safe
  • World-class health service

This isn’t something I “love”, but is something that is necessary for me:

  • Availability of non-teaching expat jobs that don’t require the local language
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Tw’s critics would probably disagree with a number of these, but if that’s your take on it you’re in the right place :slight_smile:

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Good, cheap health care yes. World class? Not from my recollection of long lines to see a specialist who dispenses pills, the yer on yer own once admitted thing wrt food, bedding, etc.

Hardly can think of similar place like Taiwan. Maybe somewhere in country side of Japan (outside of Tokyo)

Anybody here done a stint in Malaysia or Thailand? No idea how they are for job opportunities, but a few people I’ve encountered in Taiwan have compared them favourably to Taiwan.

This forum is full of Taiwan critics. I’m so grateful that I didn’t know it existed during my first year in Taiwan, because that was a really tough year and reading about how miserable everyone who’s been in the country for more than a few years is would have put me right off before sticking it out and growing to love it.


From what I understand, in Thailand I don’t think the job opportunities or earning potential is but I can’t imagine either are favorable to Taiwan employment wise. VN has higher earning ceiling but more pitfalls as there is little transparency and it’s a scammer paradise. TW is safer and more stable job wis

As far as love it or hate it I just think it depends on the kind of life you want to lead. I hated the west coast of Taiwan most of the time but loved the east coast all the time. I tend to agree with your take on the place in terms of health care, jobs, etc. It’s a great place if you have a family and want a quiet middle class life, stable job… If having a good music/art scene, active social life are the goals look elsewhere.

If you enjoy teaching you can have a great life there. If you’re mired teaching out of necessity and don’t like it it’s where the problems start. Also there’s a lot of foreigners there that make a hobby out of bitching about Taiwan at the bar or on websites and never learn the language, etc. It’s good you’ve avoided that.

Japan is awesome.


Start your own business.

Seriously, that’s the only way to make any wages that’s acceptable, or at least for the hourly rate.

You literally can’t make above 40,000 a month unless you have your own business. That or be the lucky few with expat packages or high end jobs.

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? ntd?


Yeah, you can make more than that easily working for other people in TW at most teaching jobs.

I should say for the average Taiwanese who can’t take teaching jobs. And if you are Taiwanese American you are paid way less anyways.

Like I said, unless you have high end or restricted (like teaching) job it’s very hard to make over 40,000 unless you have your own business.

The OP may be talking on foreigners with non-teaching (white collar) jobs on work visa, including taiwanese American without hukou, who must earn more than 40k+ NTD most cases.

Yeah, I know exactly what you mean. I was like that in my first year in Taiwan. I think it’s a healthy phase to go through, but the problem is that so many foreigners in Taiwan never get over it and the longer they stay the more miserable they become. I try to keep away from those guys.

I agree with Japan, but it’s very different to Taiwan and I don’t imagine that it would be a great country to live in long term. I probably should have done the English teaching thing for a year or two out there when I was in my 20s.

Precisely. I think 65K is average for an English teacher who doesn’t do much overtime and it’s considered “good” for expat office workers, with around 55K being more normal (I think). I wouldn’t be willing to take a job there that paid under 65K.

What I meant is, people complain about the low wage here but that’s just the way the market here works and anything the government do to force it would only make things worse for everyone. But I’m saying if you think the wage here is too low you can start your own business. The barrier for that here is relatively low and the cost is low too. You make so much more per working hour being your own boss than working for someone. Sure you have to pay for things and you will have unpaid hours getting started but you keep the fruits of your labor. Those guys running food stands make a lot more than white collar workers by the way, and Taiwan is dominated by small businesses.

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That is a big statement. :slight_smile: How much experience have you had with the health service here?

which country has better healthcare service/system than taiwan? Japan, maybe. How is Korea? US and some European countries, if you have money?

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Yeah I dunno. Taiwan’s system isn’t that great. The other night I tried to get a gallstone looked at. My number was 178. I asked when I could expect to see the doctor, they said after midnight.

Yeah, that gallstone will be alright for another couple of years I hope…

Taiwan health care is good, cause people get a lot for a dollar paid for their insurance contribution. Quality of this service can be discussed.

However is not world class. Is not like Switzerland or USA

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Yeah some of those points are not what I would associate with Taiwan, but I won’t colour it by saying which ones.

If you believe all of them just come back to Taiwan :smile:

Even having a middle class life isn’t that great in Taiwan. Average middle class salary in Taiwan is about 50k per month. Limited leave. Handy government jobs with pensions pretty much out of reach to foreigners. Taiwanese managers can get paid 100k plus per month. I have been offered jobs at govt institutes a few times bit they wouldn’t give me a permanent contract with a pension like some of the locals got (not the only reason I don’t work for the govt though…mostly the payscale tops out way too low here ).

English teachers salary maybe 45k to 90k per month , if you can get paid for leave is another question.

If it’s a middle class stable decent paying job people are looking for, and especially if wanting pension or benefits, I’d look elsewhere. That is unless you are get a job at an international school, a good university or a manager level job at a big company.

As for alternative to Taiwan…In Asia ?
Pay is mostly low in Asia unless you have a certain skillset. With the right skills and education you can get very high pay in places like Singapore.

Basically, and I know this from very recent experience, Singapore is where it is in terms of the corporate world right now in Asia. Japan is not even close. Also working in Japan for businesses mostly sucks. China still has some jobs but it’s China isn’t it. Also their local companies work environment sucks. HK is decidedly ropey.

For English teaching or academics, you’ve got a lot more choices in terms of where to locate . Up skill with teacher quals and the world is your oyster.!

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Can’t say I agree so much with your opinons of Taiwan and that all that can be commonly found together in one place but:

  • Good food: Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand
  • Amazing nature stone’s throw from the city: Depends on city, not the country. KL, Singapore has the huge park in the middle, Changmai, lots of cities are within an hour of nature
  • Friendly people/Easy to make friends: Thailand, many European countries,
  • Vibrant expat life (popular meetup groups catering towards many interests, etc.): Singapore, Tokyo, big cities in China
  • Low cost of living (unless you want to rent an apartment in the city centre): Thailand, Vietnam, others in Asia, Spain
  • Safe: Safety is relative, Japan, Singapore
  • World-class health service: Thailand, Singapore, Japan, European countries